For the new impressionable beekeepers, trust science more than opinions

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by Americasbeekeeper, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If scientists in several colleges and universities, and several states, and several countries are saying small cell is worthless, and they isolate variables, why believe someone that only lost 30 percent of their colonies last year? Or think logically, when the bees "regress" to small cell what is the spatial relationship? Why is a smaller bee in a smaller cell better off?
    Now if you change to hygienic queens, screened bottom boards, sacrificial drone comb at the same time you might see results like MB does.
    Small-cell comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies
    p. 40
    Jennifer A. Berry, William B. Owens and Keith S. Delaplane
    Published online: 25 September 2009
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido/2009049
    Abstract | Full HTML | PDF (83.43 KB) | References

    Brood-cell size has no influence on the population dynamics of Varroa destructor mites in the native western honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera p. 522
    Mary F. Coffey, John Breen, Mark J.F. Brown and John B. McMullan
    Published online: 4 February 2010
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido/2010003
    Abstract | Full HTML | PDF (216.7 KB) | References
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here, here.... and well stated.
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not getting what you mean by this...?
     
  5. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Omie, I mean the proponents of small cell either changed a lot more than cell size or experienced some larger than normal losses. I see actual hive numbers in my job. We work with UF Entomology and USDA, and go to apiaries every day.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    an Omie snip..
    I'm not getting what you mean by this...?

    tecumseh:
    I think I understand exactly what he is talking about here. Even the primary proponents talk about loosing large number of hives and even though they are in premier nectar collecting areas produce NO honey. of course if they have some crop that they need to have pollinated and really have no interest in honey all this effort for nothing coming out might make sense.
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Americasbeekeeper said: " I mean the proponents of small cell either changed a lot more than cell size or experienced some larger than normal losses. I see actual hive numbers in my job. We work with UF Entomology and USDA, and go to apiaries every day.

    I think this is what I think! :thumbsup: :???:
     
  8. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So, switching to small cell is only another misguided attempt to banish varroa mites-have I got it right? But studies show it has no affect unless combined with other changes like MB( Michael Bush)?
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I like to allow my bees to make whatever size cells they feel they need to make. I guess that makes me a 'natural cell' proponent. What could be healthier for the bees than letting them decide what size cells they need? Bees need different kinds and sizes of cells for different purposes and different seasons. And yes I do other things too, like screen bottom boards.


    I'm not into following 'scientific studies' too much because you can read them in multiple ways depending on how many variables were overlooked, suspect funding sources, date of study, location, what we've learned since the time of the study, unknown viruses and other factors, etc etc etc endlessly. I personally think it's all too easy to broadly dismiss entire methods and call them 'misguided' by citing one or two of the latest studies.
    Hey remember the recent cell phone study 'definitively' showing cell phone harm to bee hives?- turns out it was based on some guy placing I think 3 active ringing cell phones INSIDE 3 hives in India...pretty laughable when you think about it, but it made headline news online all over the world. I remember my jaw dropping when I read it, and the article was supposed to be serious.
    Then also commercial beekeepers have different needs and goals than hobby keepers, and thus different methods.
    When I hit upon combinations of things that work for me, I'll just keep doing it until they don't work.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    left to their own devices bees will make a slightly smaller worker cell. I think there may be correlation here with queen rearing in that it is commonly understood that smaller queen cells doesn't necessarily translate into smaller queen nor does a larger queen cell translate into a larger queen. I suspect each of these is pretty much driven by the available resources the hive has to accomplish it's own biological purpose. if you fast forward several years and multiple generation of worker bees hatching from a given size cell the time when a cell becomes abandoned or transformed will invariable happen much sooner 'natural size cells'.

    and Omie snip...
    Then also commercial beekeepers have different needs and goals than hobby keepers, and thus different methods.
    When I hit upon combinations of things that work for me, I'll just keep doing it until they don't work.

    tecumseh:
    I file all this under PURPOSE. Different purpose almost require different processes to get to the desired end results.
     
  11. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It is a little larger than one or two studies.
    Harbo J.R., Harris J.W. (1999) Heritability in honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of characteristics associated with resistance to Varroa jacobsoni (Mesostigmata: Varroidae), J. Econ. Entomol. 92, 261–265. Martin S.J., Kryger P. (2002) Reproduction of Varroa destructor in South African honey bees: does cell space influence Varroa male survivorship? Apidologie 33, 51–61 [EDP Sciences] [CrossRef].
    Message D., Gonçalves L.S. (1995) Effect of the size of worker brood cells of Africanized honey bees on infestation and reproduction of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa jacobsoni Oud., Apidologie 26, 381–386 [EDP Sciences] [CrossRef].
    Piccirillo G.A., De Jong D. (2003) The influence of brood comb cell size on the reproductive behavior of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in Africanized honey bee colonies, Genet. Mol. Res. 2, 36–42 [PubMed].
    plus those I already referenced
    I think the concluding remarks address all your issues Omie. Michael Bush does not use science even though he taught Computer Science.
    We conclude that small-cell comb technology does not impede Varroa population growth. This null conclusion is reinforced by the facts that: (1) the experiment was replicated independently three times with start dates varying between spring and fall and test periods ranging from 12–40 weeks, (2) there were no interactions between start date and treatment for ending Varroa metrics, showing that responses were consistent across experiments, (3) the question of Varroa population growth was examined holistically with six dependent variables, and finally (4) the bar for performance should be high before a candidate technology is recommended for field use. It is worth noting that Varroa densities in this study (3.3–5.1 mites per 100 bees, Tab. I) were not within the action threshold of ca. 13 mites per 100 bees shown for the region by Delaplane and Hood (1999). Interest in small-cell foundation has been fueled in part by observations of Martin and Kryger (2002) that conditions which constrict the space between the host pupa and male protonymph mite promote male mite mortality. However, as these authors point out, “reducing cell sizes as a mite control method will probably fail to be effective since the bees are likely to respond by rearing correspondingly smaller bees”. The present study supports this deduction directly, and its premise indirectly: average bee live weight in October was numerically smaller in small-cell colonies than conventional (Tab. I).
    If natural cell works for you keep doing it. We have too much Varroa down here to keep raising drones.
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I seem to recall how several of these studies were conducted on an oddly small scale and for an almost ridiculously short period of time- not long enough to really prove anything in my humble opinion. Serious studies should have been conducted for at least 3 years, not 3 months! That was one reason I myself don't particularly get excited over either small cell 'proof' as a religion OR anti-small cell 'proof'. Everyone has their own favorite methods, just as you say!

    Interesting tidbit about the bee size. Do you think the varroa mites also get smaller as the bees get smaller over the generations on small cell? Fascinating stuff!

    Gary, I don't really think of myself as 'raising drones'. But I find dedicated drone frames seem pretty handy as convenient mite 'bait traps', though I haven't culled any drones this past year. The bees seem happy to concentrate drone brood on the dedicated drone frames pretty solidly. And in the late summer and fall they seem to like to fill them with honey, not drones, for winter use in the brood chambers. So it seems handy to have a drone frame in each 10 frame brood box, at least in the Spring when drone raising is one of the things bees feel they need to do to procreate.

    I would not myself lecture a brand new beekeeper to start out with small cell foundation, but i can't see what harm it would do. More brood per frame in the brood boxes, that's for sure! Maybe one could put regular commercial size foundation in the honey supers for honey only?

    My bees originally came from Don in GA, and they were small cell, now they're mostly natural cell. They are doing well for me as a hobby keeper, and they haven't needed mite treatment yet in 3 yrs, (knock on wax) though I do make splits and nucs regularly, and I only really need enough honey for my family and friends. :)
    I usually read both science and opinion and then figure my own way from there. No offense meant! :)
     
  13. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    :thumbsup: I agree!
     
  14. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Keith Delaplane's study at the University of Georgia was over three years with the same results. August 2006 to April 2008 and it includes a declaration from another entomologist involved with Varroa. "A field test of no more than 9–10 weeks is adequate to accurately appraise Varroa population change (Harbo, 1996)."
    I also found French and German studies but I am not translating if you do not believe American scientists.
     
  15. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So declareth one entomologist, in 1996. Well of course one can count a population of anything and then count it again a few weeks later and 'accurately appraise a population change'. The declaration doesn't say much to me...not surprising at all that there was little change in the mite population. But what does that really mean, if a study was way too short and didn't even start with small cell bees to begin with, as i read was the case in one such widely published small cell study?
    Heck, even my daughter was a Cornell entomologist who worked more recently than that with Roger Morse at Cornell's bee dept. She assisted on a bunch of varroa studies while she was there. She told me she killed and counted thousands upon thousands of bees and varroa mites, for grueling weeks on end, recording data on varroa. At that time she would probably have declared that "A field test of no more than TWO weeks tops is more than adequate to accurately appraise Varroa population change.".... :lol:

    (How does August 2006 to April 2008 equal three years?)

    Actually, I do suspect that any non-chemical varroa control is effective only when it is put to use in a multi-pronged attack, and small cell 'may' be one of many tools in that toolbox. Just as a screen bottom board can help with varroa control, but not be very effective all by itself. Keeping bees healthy and strong is definitely a multiple method approach!
    I'm sorry, I'm sure you'd probably like to bonk me over the head with an inflatable mallet at this point. :???:
     
  16. Marbees

    Marbees Member

    Messages:
    983
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Glad I'm not alone.:smile:

    As for proponents of small cell theory, after four years of reading their posts on the other forum, I can't understand where it radicalism is coming from? Their motto, which is basically, who is not with us - he/she is against us, reminds me on those the communists had. No tolerance to other toughts or experiences. Never found anything scientific to their claims. Vanity is a heavy burden to live with.:sad:
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    a snip....
    As for proponents of small cell theory, after four years of reading their posts on the other forum, I can't understand where it radicalism is coming from?

    tecumseh:
    most cults are built on the charm (real or assumed) of one person and a lot of followers incapable or unable to think for themselves. Eric Hoffer's 'true believer' series is quite useful in coming to some understanding of this how such folks tend to think and act.

    I myself have no doubt that my questioning of this particular technique and at least one other beekeeper's flaky idea was the primary cause for myself being tossed from 'the other forum'.... not that any one running things over there was man enough to stand up and give me any explanation of cause. I will admit I did see 'my fall' coming and pointed this out to at least a couple of other beekeepers who show up here from time to time.

    at this time I am uncertain why some of these 'whacky ideas' has such appeal to first or second year beekeepers. I guess my way and thinking has always been a bit different (iddee needs not agree to this snip :wink: ) but I have always focused highly on getting the basics skills down and after I have somewhat mastered the basic then feel confident enough to make an attempt at my own 'whacky ideas'.
     
  18. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think there is no one single rigid beekeeping method, even the basics. I see lots of variation in beekeeping methods. This is good and right! No method ever remains exactly the same without adapting and evolving over time. Different folks have different BKing needs, as well. If nothing else, our environment and outside conditions effecting bees changes. I'm not ready to dismiss or riducule other people's ways of keeping bees if they feel it works for them for years.

    As to tolerance and 'communists'... (what the heck?? LMAO! next thing will be that all small cell proponents are TERRORISTS! LOL! call Homeland security!) ...I see all sides in this dog fight doing plenty of defending of their favored methods and attacking the other guy's methods. There seems to be little tolerance from either side over 'there'. Way too much flinging of derogatory words like 'misguided', 'cult', 'radical', 'kooky', etc. You'd think we were talking about Charles Manson! :shock: 'Natural' beekeepers (I hate that term, because keeping bees in boxes is unnatural anyway) like Michael Bush or Chris Harp or Sam Comfort etc etc are fairly 'charming' people (well almost all of them...lol), are very dedicated to their methods and have 'followers'. I really like what these guys do and promote for the most part, but...I consider myself capable of thinking on my own and even as a beginner I took some of what they said with a grain of salt. Am I a 'cult follower'? Am I actually deluding myself and running headlong towards a terrible cliff along with a herd of lemmings? I believe that most people will figure out their own way if presented with several options and theories.

    Beginners usually make way more serious errors than buying small cell foundation could ever be- why get so upset about it?? I'd wager just as many beginners lose their bees in the first 2 years on regular foundation as they do on small cell foundation. Reading the forums here over several years, I see that beginners lose their bees all the time to varroa mites and other problems in their first 3 years whether they treat them or not! Beginners regularly get discouraged by failure and quit. Others try again and keep learning and experimenting. The first couple years are typically spent making hands on mistakes and learning from them.I see a pattern where more beginners seem to doom their first hive through over manipulation/disruption, accidental queen loss and injury, improper treatment strategies, or mis-diagnosing queenrightness than through anything else. How many of these beginners have doomed their first hive simply by having small cell foundation?

    I started with Don K.'s small cell bees, I don't treat for anything at all and no varroa problem yet in 3 yrs. They were good healthy bees, and even better now that they are mixed with my local genetics. I also learned to split my hives and make new queens to help ensure vitality and break the mite breeding cycle. This I feel is important too, and is part of the overall learning curve that beginners should learn about, or at least read about. Nobody with a brain should doggedly follow only one person's advice in beekeeping when there is so MUCH wonderful information available out there for us today. But would any of you rant at me if I suggested to my newbie friend that they start the same way I did with small cell bees, would you call me misguided, cultish, or whacky? If so, then feel free, it don't bother me one bit! I'll just keep doin my thing. :cool:

    I fully understand why methods like 'natural cell'/foundationless, Warre hives, small cell, and top bar hives appeal to the new generation of green-minded new hobby beekeepers. Why wouldn't anyone understand this?- it's obvious why! These are not wacky or cultish ideas any more than biodynamic or organic gardening is. They're just different ideas. Anything that gets people excited about keeping bees in their backyard is ok by me. What they do as they learn and evolve as beekeepers, or whether they quit, is up to them.

    Luckily we have lots of tolerance here though! ....right? :)
     
  19. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey, let's talk politics and see what happens!!!!
     
  20. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Propaganda is part of the picture wherever differing points of view are promoted. Chemical companies have theirs and those who rail against them have theirs. There are monetary motives and status motives as well as a whole spectrum of pshychological payloads for individuals involved. Some peoples choice is driven by sentiments of being one with the "establishment" and others will choose whatever seems to be contradictory to that. They may claim to seek truth but much of the rhetoric is just talking points or what is nowadays called sound bytes! Man by nature is a very competitive beast as well as strongly tribalistic. We have such a strong urge to be part of a clique and yet different, that where no important difference exists, we adopt a symbolic one!

    Even when people are aware of their own manipulative instincts it is hard to prevent their convictions from being coloured by or strained by their conceptive filters. It makes for some bizarre behaviour when watched from a distance. That fellow must have been "tongue in cheek" when he gave him the nick name Homo Sapiens!